What do Haitian salt, recidivism reduction, mobile banking, educational enrichment, political engagement, and toys to comfort refugee children all have in common? All are problems the finalists in the Zielsdorf Family Pitch Competition are trying to solve!
With the Irish Impact SE Conference 2015 just around the corner, we’re excited to announce these finalists, and hope you will come out to support them in person (event details here) or send a shout-out to one or more of them via social media! This event is the culmination of the Irish Impact Conference, where six social enterprise finalists will make live funding pitches before a panel of expert judges. The judges will evaluate each team based on the merits of their value proposition, customer segmentation, financial sustainability and social/environmental mission.
Our 2015 Finalists are:
Ministering in Christ’s name, Bon Sel Dayiti+ produces single- and double-fortified salt to eliminate lymphatic filariasis and iodine deficiency disorders in Haiti. The salt is marketed as “Bon Sel Dayiti+”, which translates as “The Good Salt of Haiti Plus”. Located in Port au Prince, they produce and distribute salt products throughout the country, thereby reducing the disease burden afflicting the people of Haiti. They are doubling their impact by developing the infrastructure needed for a self-sustaining salt company, the first of its kind in Haiti, focusing resources on salt processing, packaging, marketing and consumer education. External partnerships are leveraged for production of raw salt and the distribution of finished salt products. Currently operating as a non-profit entity, Bon Sel Dayiti+ aspires to be self-financing and self-sustaining, producing positive cash flow that will support other ministry and humanitarian projects.
The ultimate purpose of Edovo is to reduce recidivism and unlock the human potential behind bars by enabling daily access to education and vocational programming tailored to inmates’ needs and interests. Investment in inmate education leads to reduced recidivism and lowers taxpayer liability. Sadly, programming in correctional facilities is extremely limited, politically challenging, and doesn’t meet inmate demand. A recent study shows that for every inmate that qualifies for a class, one is on a waiting list. And, in-person classroom education is often inefficient, due to the wide variety of learning levels in each cohort. Edovo has introduced a tablet-based platform, allowing the inmate to work at their own level and pace, and pick what motivates them to achieve their learning goals. This personalized, self-driven learning includes exploration in k-12/GED and college education, vocational training, employment opportunities, and community resources. EdovoGo enables former inmates to continue their progress by providing access to these resources after they leave through any connected device. Finally, Edovo recognizes the importance of incentives and uses entertainment as a motivator and behavior management tool. Entertainment content can be earned or unlocked based on the inmates’ engagement with the education and treatment material described above. Their ultimate business objective is to reach the 12 million inmates that cycle through prisons and jails each year and improve the communities into which they are released.
Swift provides financial solutions to the unbanked in emerging markets through a mobile banking solution called MSwift. MSwift is a mobile savings account and financial management tool that enables users to save for their monthly expenses while tracking their daily spending habits. As a mobile banking solution, MSwift captures invaluable transactional data and additional information including cash flow, spending habits, and financial goals. Overtime, MSwift will provide additional banking services to users including loan capital and payment solutions as well as offers through MSwift referral and advertising partners. Since 85% of individuals in emerging markets have access to mobile phones, MSwift will be able to aggregate financial data at scale.
One Jump is a one-stop shop that inspires, connects and funds high-achieving, underserved students seeking enrichment opportunities through an online database of more than a thousand programs. One Jump, excited by the ability to both create a social good and to alleviate poverty by empowering and connecting the poor, creates a pipeline connecting top underserved talent to jobs and internships. Currently only 9% of low-income students graduate from college, despite the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of qualified, motivated, and intelligent students. Low-income students’ lack of participation in enrichment programs contributes to over 60% of the learning gap between them and higher-income students by the time they enter high school. Underserved students routinely miss opportunities because there is no mechanism or platform to connect them, all of which is what One Jump hopes to change.
POLCO helps busy but concerned citizens, and those without the means to go to town hall meetings, participate on their public policies via a simple, but effective suite of voting and commenting tools. POLCO hosts municipal, state, and federal policies in a central database and lets citizens access them via the POLCO website, POLCO apps, or via widgets dispersed throughout the internet for distributed vote and comment collection. POLCO also helps civics, American government, and political science courses encourage their students to participate in their political process. Just as citizen votes are tallied according to their district, they can also be tallied according to classroom associations and reports of participation (not what the students voted, but if they voted) provided to the instructor for a weekly participation grade recommendation. Graduate Economic Public Finance and Public Policy classes routinely conduct quantitative analyses of which demographics and geographies are helped and hurt by different policies. Instead of burying these great analyses, they encourage publication and peer review of the analyses on POLCO. In addition, they provide a crowd-sourced alternative to what the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) provides at the Federal level, what very small and limited teams attempt to do at the State level, and what essentially no one is doing at the municipal level to better inform and educate voters beyond what they hear in rhetorical sound bytes from traditional media outlets. Greater political participation, especially in this POLCO fashion, leads to better informed citizens and ultimately better policies at every level of government.
Threadies is in the business of restoring the basic ingredients of childhood – comfort, safety, stability – to those who need it most! By creating specially-designed stuffed animals for children affected by conflict and natural disaster, Threadies teaches children the value of sharing love through their one-for-one purchase. For each Thready purchased in the US, a twin Thready is given to a child living in a refugee camp, connecting the two children and their Threadies across continents. Thready twins each come with a “coping kit” that guides children and their parents through trauma healing exercises, based on the latest research in child psychology. Not only are Threadies distributed to refugee children in the Middle East, but each Thready is hand-sewn by a team of refugee artisans in the West Bank. Stable employment brings empowerment and gives these women the ability to pay for their children’s education.
Make sure to register for the Irish Impact Conference to hear these incredible finalists pitch their enteprise for the chance to win $10,000! That’s Irish Impact!